Sound Scene: Sounds & Insights for Your Ears

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, National Music,   From Issue 629   By: Scott Baker

11th January, 2007     0

Live bullet at nine tonight: Bob Seger taped The Palace of Auburn Hills shows he performed around Christmas for a future release - maybe even a DVD! Let’s hope that footage from previous tours make it to DVD as well, since classic Seger seems to be as much in demand more than any other singer/songwriter of his era. Speaking of DVD's by hard-to-see artists, the Irish master Van Morrison himself finally has opened up for some classic footage. Live at Montreux 1974/1980 is two DVD's covering incredible live nights, actually picked out by the artist himself. Both shows are complete and showcase the singer at a peak in '74 and his triumphant, musical exploration return in '80, covering his musical development and delivery that has sustained time. Fans of Morrison were thrilled when he made his first Michigan appearance in many, many years back in November at the Masonic Temple.

Charlie Smith & the Strength Band will be performing Live at White's Bar on Thursday, January 25th & Friday, January 26th.  Charlie Smith is born and raised in New Orleans - the Big Easy, his home for over 40 years until Katrina changed his life and sent him packing for high ground. He spent time the next few years like a gypsy, traipsing over to Atlanta, then Texas before making his way to Michigan to reunite with his partner Minnie Reed. Charlie and the Strength band have been together off and on for over 30 years and reformed just in time to record a cd, WAR, in honor of our troops and his son who is serving in Iraq. In an unsettling twist of fate Katrina hit the day after the CD was recorded, devastating the north central Gulf Coast and separating the Strength Band for the next17 months. Charlie Smith has impressive credentials - drummer and background vocalist for King Floyd (that's Charlie's high tenor on Groove Me) and Gene Knight (ditto for Mr. Big Stuff). His uncle is none other than the legendary "Junker-style" piano funkster Eddie Bo. Charlie performed on Bo's Check Your Bucket and Country Hoedown and guarantees he will perform all those songs and more during his two-night stint at White's Bar. Admission is $6 and advanced tickets are available.   

If you haven't checked out lately, we have lots of new features & content rolling, including video & musical highlights from last year's 20th annual Review Music Awards Ceremony. Additionally, we are preparing to unveil our Artist Pages. By registering, any artist or band can create their own bio, add as much information as you want, post images, photos, edit your own gallery, and auto feed your upcoming shows to our events calendar. Best of all, it's FREE!  To register and obtain your log-in, contact our WebMaster at

Local keyboardist/vocalist Jeff Ott has released his debut CD. You may remember him playing with The Sinclairs on keyboards as of late. There will be a story on him and the CD A Simple Life, which was released Sept. 20 in the coming weeks here in Review. Meanwhile, check out

Sprout will be releasing their first CD with the new, shortened moniker. "We're recording with Mike Lavoilette and Chris Roach up at Media Music,"  said bassist Matt Nyquist. "We're hopefully gonna have this done by March. After this weekend we should have all 12 core tracks done."

Kathy from Hott & Bothered Productions sent along a pair of shows to note coming up at the Arlington in Bay City: Rock Star Super Nova (singer) Phil Ritchie's band Lennex is performing Feb. 4th - all ages welcome the whole show. $10 cover, doors open at 2 p.m. and the show will go until 9 p.m. with special guests Eternal Drive, Taken For Granted, Negative Sleep and Unknown Destination. She also has national recording artist Fermata Feb 10th - doors open at 6 p.m. All ages welcome until 9 p.m. with a $10 cover, with special guests Purple Watch Out, Grynkore, Dirtnap Destiny, Room 813, Last Call, and Forgotten December.

The Grande Nationals, Detroit's power pop heroes are back with a new release Brass Knuckle Heartbreak (Bellyache Records). The group features former Essexville resident Scotty Hagen on bass. A story will be in the Review in an upcoming issue. Check out for more.

Bobby Pizazz is a singer-songwriter/musical storyteller out of the Burton area that has been bringing his acoustic tinged R&B around the Tri-cities as of late. The Rhythm Train is the jazz/blues/soul band that backs him up. Imagine if James Taylor was backed up by Booker T & the MG's and you have an idea of their sound. Check out for show dates.

From jazz to blues, Carlos Santana surely hasn't had anything really 'classic' happening of late, but his own Blues At Montreux 2004 should change all that. Featuring Santana as Musical Director and co-lead guitarist along with Chic's Nile Rodgers, Blues At Montreux 2004 singles out Bobby Parker, Buddy Guy, and the late Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, each receiving their own DVD in the package. To see Santana mix it up with Parker's early style (he backed Sam Cooke, Everly Brothers, etc.), Guy's legendary Chicago electricity, and Brown's swing/blues/jazz styles (from violin to guitar and back!), the Blues At Montreux 2004 showcases why the beloved Montreux festival sets the standard for mixing it live, both sonically and visually each year. It doesn't get better than this and you can expect more to come in the Montreux series.


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